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How The IPL Has Become a Global Sporting Giant, As The Internet Does For Cricket What It Did For Online Casinos

Sport is, without any doubt, a global affair. From the NHL to the English Premier League, the NBA to Serie A, Australian Rules Football to golf tournaments on every continent, sports are beloved by billions. I imagine that each one of you reading this now could name not only your favourite sport, but those you also watch, along with many others you don't even have an interest in, but are fully aware of.

One of the most watched sports in the world, right up there with soccer (or football, depending on where you are) is cricket. Much like many other sports and entertainment pastimes, cricket is followed with true fervour. Beyond the traditional cricket countries, the world of the internet continues to strengthen and spread the love of this sport. Take the online casino as another example of how this virtual world opens up entertainment options to previously uninitiated fans.

As with cricket, the casino was, to many, something they would never visit or engage with. Enter the online casino. Put simply, the world of the online casino and online pokies brought everything from roulette to poker, slots to pontoon to people who had never played before, and it is now a global phenomenon. The online arena has brought this form of entertainment to a whole new audience, captivating people who may not have previously enjoyed casino-based fun, but now love it. In Australia, for example, there are even cricket-themed slots, making the crossover complete.

But what are the other factors that have made cricket so staggeringly popular? Step forward the Indian Premier League. For many years, the world of the shorter form of cricket, namely the 20 over per team format, has been expanding around the world. With leagues in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and even the USA, this T20 format has exploded, and the growth has been personified and taken to the next level by the IPL. Unsurprisingly in a nation that is cricket-mad, India now has the most valuable, most watched, and most revered 20 over league in the world, so let's take a look at how this has happened and why it is getting bigger each year.

From Contracts To Fanbases, IPL Cricket Just Can't Stop Growing

In the early days of the IPL, the league was popular in India, as all cricket is, but did not make an immediate impact on the global sporting stage. Back in 2008, when the first season happened and the league was inaugurated, over 200 million viewers tuned in across Indian television. Even so, the season only garnered an audience of around 10 million from outside India. By 2010, this number had grown to the point where the IPL had become the sixth most-watched sports league in the world.

So what helped the IPL become so popular so fast? There are a few things, but without a doubt, one of them was the ability of the franchises to offer international players lucrative contracts, previously unmatched in world cricket. One look at the current roster of international cricket players highlights this, with several players going for over a million dollars on the annual draft day. Indeed, attracting the best in the world has established the IPL as the go-to league, although there are others that also deliver some truly superb teams of global players.

From England captains to Australian superstars, South Africa's finest to any number of home-grown heroes, the contracts on offer can be worth more than the rest of the season's earnings for many. This results in a two-fold growth benefit. First, more players of a higher caliber will be involved and, directly relating to this, the fan base will grow as the quality of players on show is consistently high. All this feeds into the desire of sponsors and franchise owners to invest more, making the IPL commercially successful.

From Stadium To Streaming, IPL Viewers Are Everywhere

When it comes to IPL fans, they are all over the world. Yes, each match usually plays to a full stadium in the various host towns and cities across India, and that in itself makes it a profitable and highly watched league. People from all over the world travel to India to enjoy this fantastic spectacle in person, and this is a league that is now reaching people in so many ways. As well as the social media and online marketing done by each individual franchise, the IPL is now beamed and streamed all around the globe.

And let's briefly look back at the casino link we mentioned earlier - the appearance of cricket-themed pokies. This alone is a testament to just how huge this sport has become; you're not just seeing it in stadiums, you're seeing it take online casinos by storm, simply because people love it so much, game designers have taken it up as part of their development.

In short, the IPL is attracting both traditional cricket audiences and new ones. It is a format designed to entertain, to appeal to the younger viewers, and bring in those who may have a passing interest in the sport, as well as those who are new to it. With the combination of in-person attendance figures and television/online viewers around the world, the IPL money machine just keeps on rolling.

With global viewers and dedicated television network coverage so ubiquitous, the league that started as a largely Indian affair has now become the gift that India is sharing with the entire cricketing world. The IPL has shown that cricket is a sport that competes with the most watched around the world, and as the US dips its toe in the water with a new league too, the IPL continues to set the standards and spread the word, appearing in both physical forms and in the world of digital betting.